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– Two MINI John Cooper Works Rally finish inside top three at Hungarian Baja 2017.
– Mikko Hirvonen with co-driver Andreas Schulz takes second place on the podium.
– Jakub Przygonski and Tom Colsoul take third place honour for MINI.
– Conrad Rautenbach takes sixth overall in his first and successful outing as part of the MINI family.

Hungarian Baja 2017 proved to be an exciting cross-country race from the moment the competitors lined up for the 11.41km Super Special Stage on the opening evening of Friday 11th August. The jumps, twists and water splashes of this short stage were designed purely to thrill drivers and spectators alike but also, more importantly, set out the starting order for the next day’s Leg 2,

Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) and co-driver Andreas Schulz (GER) in the #4 MINI John Cooper Works Rally completed the Super Special Stage in third place, but with the top ten finishers deciding on their starting positions for Leg 2, and with overnight rain forecasted, tactics came into play and Saturday saw the “Flying Finn” start in tenth position. Jakub Przygonski (POL) and co-driver Tom Colsoul (BEL), also in a MINI John Cooper Works Rally, completed SSS1 in sixth with MINI Family newcomer Conrad Rautenbach (ZWE) and co-driver Filipe Palmeiro (POR) in eighth.

Saturday’s second leg was a fast race complete with water-filled tracks that made some turns and junctions slippery. Never the less, the duo of Hirvonen and Schulz made ground to complete the leg in second place, followed directly in third by Przygonski / Tom Colsoul. Even though this was Rautenbach’s first outing with MINI and motorsport partner X-raid Team, he finished with a fine seventh place at the end of the leg.

Sunday’s final leg was played over the same course as Leg 2 but in reverse. With the top six competitors all in with a chance of a top three result, the pace throughout the individual stages was extremely quick. As the flag came down on the final stage, it was Hirvonen / Schulz who then climbed the finish podium in second place overall, with Przygonski / Tom Colsoul joining them in third place. Also delighted with his top ten finish was Conrad Rautenbach. The man from Zimbabwe made the most of his MINI ALL4 Racing and the co-pilot skills of Filipe Palmeiro to complete his first race with the MINI Family in sixth position.

Mikko Hirvonen: “I pushed the first 40km of the morning session (Sunday) to the limit, but later I had a risky moment, so held back a bit, really a bit, because I felt if I had not this we would have rolled over. The second place is not that bad. This is the second race with Andy and we have worked more and more in harmony.”

The next outing of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup is Round 9, the 2017 Baja Poland, 24-27 August.

Hungarian Baja 2017: MINI final placings
Position Driver Co-driver # Team
2nd Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) Andreas Schulz (GER) 4 MINI John Cooper Works Rally X-raid Team
3rd Jakub Przygonski (POL) Tom Colsoul (BEL) 2 MINI John Cooper Works Rally Orlen Team
6th Conrad Rautenbach (ZWE) Filipe Palmeiro (POR) 23 MINI ALL4 Racing X-raid Team

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